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Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, attacked Sadiq Khan for trying to make motorists “miserable” while the Government is building the largest road-building program in decades. He went on to say Transport for London (TfL) has run out of money due to his management. Mr Rees-Mogg told MPs: “The Mayor of London has always done everything he possibly can to make lives for the motorists miserable and no doubt wishes to continue to do so.
“The Conservative government on the other hand is with the largest road-building program in decades and a real commitment to making motoring easier and helping people drive in the way that they wish to do.
“The fact that Transport for London has run out of money is because it was running out of money before the coronavirus hit because it was badly managed by an incompetent mayor.”
It comes as Boris Johnson has claimed TfL was “effectively bankrupted” before coronavirus, and proposals to hike charges are “entirely the responsibility” of the capital’s Mayor.
He made the comments after Mr Khan accused the Government of “ill-advised and draconian” plans in return for a second bailout.
Mr Khan said ministers want TfL to expand the £15 Congestion Charge Zone to the North and South Circular roads in 12 months’ time, which would see the zone cover around four million more Londoners.
The Government was also said to want to increase TfL fares by well above the inflation rate, and double down on demands to remove free travel for under-18s.
A further Government proposal is to introduce a new council tax charge in the capital, regardless of whether residents use public transport, said the mayor.
Mr Johnson told the Commons: “The current Mayor of London had effectively bankrupted TfL before coronavirus had even hit and left a massive black hole in its finances.
“Any need to make up that deficit is entirely down to him, it is entirely his responsibility.
“Any expansion of the congestion charge or any other measure taken to improve the finances of TfL are entirely the responsibility of the bankrupt current Labour Mayor of London.”
Mr Khan responded by declaring that the Prime Minister “has lied”.
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The London mayor, who succeeded Mr Johnson in the position in May 2016, said: “Before Covid I was fixing his mess at TfL- reducing the deficit by 71 percent since 2016. Covid-19 is the sole cause of TfL’s challenges.”
Mr Khan earlier told a meeting of TfL’s board that he intends to “stand firm and fight for a fair deal for Londoners”.
He went on: “TfL is being offered only another six months’ financial support, but with ill-advised and draconian conditions that are unfair to London, fall disproportionately on those least able to afford them, would undermine the economic recovery of our city, and contrast starkly with the support provided to the private train operating companies.
“This global pandemic will be with us for some time. We requested an 18-month support package to see TfL through the immediate crisis and the aftermath, as it is uncertain how quickly fare revenue will recover.”
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